2021 Aurealis Awards Shortlist Announcement

A huge thanks to our amazing judges, who have read an enormous number of entered works to pare it down for these excellent shortlists. It’s always a massive job, and they’ve done it in the midst of a truly awful few months in the world.

Congratulations to all the finalists – there was fantastic competition across the board this year, with some panels receiving well over 100 entries, and increased numbers in some of our traditionally smaller categories. We’re delighted to announce the shortlists, and encourage our followers to investigate the finalists to find some great reads!

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The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, Anna Ciddor (Allen & Unwin)

Stellarphant, James Foley (Fremantle Press)

Dragon Skin, Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin)

The Curiosities, Zana Fraillon & Phil Lesnie (illustrator) (Hachette Australia)

Elsewhere Girls, Emily Gale & Nova Weetman (Text Publishing)

Barebum Billy, Nicholas Snelling (BAD DAD Publishing)


The Curiosities, Zana Fraillon & Phil Lesnie (illustrator) (Hachette Australia)

Treasure in the Lake, Jason Pamment (Allen & Unwin)

Mechanix, Ben Slabak & Edoardo Natalini (Cloud 9 Comix)

Killeroo: Semper Fidelis, Matthew Soall & Ignacio Di Meglio (illustrator) (OzComics)


“The Woods Echo Back”, Tania Fordwalker (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #331)

“Don’t Look!”, Lisa Fuller (Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, Wakefield Press)

“Of Slaves and Lions”, Pamela Jeffs (Stories of Survival, Deadset Press)

“Slaughterhouse Boys”, Emma Osborne (Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, Wakefield Press)

“Way-bread Rising”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Stories of Survival, Deadset Press)

“Hunger”, Marianna Shek (Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, Wakefield Press)


“Don’t Look!”, Lisa Fuller (Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, Wakefield Press)  

“Traces of Us, Hot Enough for Dinner”, Ephiny Gale (The Dread Machine 1.3)

“The House that Hungers”, Maria Lewis (Aurealis #146, Chimaera Publications)

“The Quiet Room”, Martin Livings (Midnight Echo #16, The Australasian Horror Writers Association)

“Sins of the Mother”, Tracie McBride (Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, IFWG Publishing Australia)

“Mother Dandelion”, Antoinette Rydyr (Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, IFWG Publishing Australia)


When the Cicadas Stop Singing, Zachary Ashford (Horrific Tales Press)

“The Band Plays On”, Alan Baxter (The Gulp, self-published)

“Hell’s Teeth”, Matthew R Davis (Haunted: An Anthology, Specul8 Publishing)

Cryptid Killers, Alister Hodge (Severed Press)

“All The Long Way Down”, Alf Simpson (Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 3, IFWG Publishing Australia)


“Who Wants to be a Reaper”, Jane Brown (The Centropic Oracle)

“So-called Bin Chicken”, E J Delaney (Curiouser Magazine #2)

“All my Tuesdays”, Laura J Fitzwilson (Cicerone Journal Issue 5: Curious Worlds)

“Old Souls”, Aiki Flinthart (Relics, Wrecks & Ruins, CAT Press)

“The Woods Echo Back”, Tania Fordwalker (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #331)

“Frabjous”, Alexander Gibbs (Cicerone Journal Issue 5: Curious Worlds)


“Mother in Bloom”, Alan Baxter (The Gulp, self-published)

“The Little One”, Rebecca Fraser (Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract, IFWG Publishing Australia)

“Bones Of The Sea”, Amy Laurens (Inkprint Press)

“Echo and Narcissus”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Sheep Might Fly podcast, self-published)

“The Scarab Children of Montague”, Suzanne J Willis (Falstaff Books)


“He Leaps for the Stars, He Leaps for the Stars” Grace Chan (Clarkesworld #178)

“For Autumn”, Melissa Ferguson (Revolutions, Deadset Press)

“Honey and a Hanging”, Aiki Flinthart (Tribute, Black Hart Publishing)

“The Reunion”, Emily Fox (Nature: Futures)

“Relict: (noun) A Widow; a Thing Remaining From the Past”, Alison Goodman (Relics, Wrecks & Ruins, CAT Press)

“Legacy of the Species”, Pamela Jeffs, (The Terralight Collection, Four Ink Press)


“Access Denied”, Baden Chant (Aurealis #142, Chimaera Publications)

The Cruise to the End of the World, Craig Cormick (Merino Press)

“The Birdsong Fossil”, D K Mok (Multispecies Cities: Solarpunk Urban Futures, World Weaver Press)

“Problem Landing”, Sean Monaghan (Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact Mar/Apr)

“Preserved in Amber”, Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #178)

“A Vast Silence”, T R Napper (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Nov/Dec)


The Gulp, Alan Baxter, (self-published)

Danged Black Thing, Eugen Bacon (Transit Lounge Publishing)

The Terralight Collection, Pamela Jeffs (Four Ink Press)

The Tallow-Wife & Other Tales, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Little Labyrinths: Collected Microfictions, Sean Williams (Brain Jar Press)


Who Sleuthed It?, Lindy Cameron (Ed.) (Clan Destine Press)

Relics, Wrecks & Ruins, Aiki Flinthart (Ed.), Lauren Elise Daniels & Geneve Flynn (assistant Eds.), CAT Press

Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales, Poppy Nwosu (Ed.) (Wakefield Press)

Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, Deborah Sheldon (Ed.) (IFWG Publishing Australia)


Waking Romeo, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

Aurora’s End, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Terciel and Elinor, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

Echo in the Memory, Cameron Nunn (Walker Books Australia)

Dirt Circus League, Maree Kimberley (Text Publishing)

It’s Not You, It’s Me, Gabrielle Williams (Allen & Unwin)


The Bridge, J S Breukelaar (Meerkat Press)

Midnight in the Chapel of Love, Matthew R Davis (JournalStone Publishing)

Papa Lucy & The Boneman, Jason Fischer (Outland Entertainment)

The Airways, Jennifer Mills (Picador Australia)

Holly and the Nobodies, Ben Pienaar (Hellbound Books LLC)


Supermums – And So It Begins, Meg Grace (self-published)

The Rose Daughter, Maria Lewis (Piatkus / Hachette / Little Brown)

A Marvellous Light, Freya Marske (Tor)

Dark Rise, C S Pacat (Allen & Unwin)

She Who Became the Sun, Shelley Parker-Chan (Mantle)

All the Murmuring Bones, Angela Slatter (Titan Books)


Waking Romeo, Kathryn Barker (Allen & Unwin)

The 22 Murders of Madison May, Max Barry (Hachette Australia)

Stealing Time, Rebecca Bowyer (Story Addict Publishing)

Papa Lucy & The Boneman, Jason Fischer (Outland Entertainment)

Aurora’s End, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Deepwater King, Claire McKenna (HarperCollins Publishers)


Lifespan of Starlight [Lifespan of Starlight (2015); Split Infinity (2016); Edge of Time (2018)], Thalia Kalkipsakis (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Elementals [Ice Wolves (2018); Scorch Dragons (2019); Battle Born (2020)], Amie Kaufman (HarperCollins)

Unearthed [Unearthed (2017); Undying (2018)], Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Lifelike [LIFEL1K3 (2018); DEV1AT3 (2019); TRUEL1F3 (2020)], Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)

Winter [The Road to Winter (2016); Wilder Country (2017); Land of Fences (2019)], Mark Smith (Text Publishing)

Blood and Gold [Crown of Rowan (enovella, 2014); Daughters of the Storm (2014); Sisters of the Fire (2016); Queens of the Sea (2019)], Kim Wilkins (HarperCollins)

Information about this year’s Awards ceremony will follow as soon as we confirm dates and location.

Congratulations again to all our finalists!

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Entries for the 2021 Aurealis Awards close TOMORROW!

The entry form for the 2021 Aurealis Awards, closing on Tuesday 14 December 2021, can be found here.

ALL WORK due for publication up to December 31 MUST be entered by the deadline of midnight December 14 – no exceptions can be made, and work published in the final weeks of December are ONLY eligible this year. They cannot be carried into 2022, so if you have something coming out in the next two weeks, enter it NOW!

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Aurealis Awards close in ONE WEEK!

Entries for the 2021 Aurealis Awards close on December 14!

It’s essential that ALL work published (or planned for publication) between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021 is entered by this deadline.

Check out the list of current entries here, and enter your Australian speculative fiction work in the Aurealis Awards here.

If you have a publication due out in late December, please enter it NOW. If publication is delayed into 2022 we can remove it from consideration in this year’s Awards, but we are NOT able to enter carry over work published late in the year into the following year.

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Aurealis Awards entries update and reminder!

There is now less than one month until entries close for the 2021 Aurealis Awards. It’s important to remember that ALL eligible Australian work published for the first time between January 1 and December 31, 2021 must be entered by December 14, even work intended for publication after the December 14 cut off date.

If you have any work scheduled for publication after December 14, enter it NOW! If publication is delayed, we can easily remove the entry, but we are unable to make exceptions afterwards if work is not entered by the December 14 deadline.

Please take care to check the updated entries received list and get your entries in!

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Entries for the SARA DOUGLASS BOOK SERIES AWARD close 30 September!

Entries for the Sara Douglass Book Series Award close shortly.

If you or someone you know had an Australian speculative fiction series of at least two books that was considered finished in 2018, 2019 or 2020, make sure it is entered!

Entry for this Award is free, and judges prefer digital files for reading.

Find more information and the entry form here.

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2021 Aurealis Awards open for entry

We are delighted to announce that the 2021 Aurealis Awards are now open for immediate entry.

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.

We strongly encourage publishers and authors to enter all works published already this year by September 30, 2021, then subsequent publications as they are released; our judges appreciate having time to consider each entry carefully.

Entries for the Aurealis Awards main categories close on December 14, 2021.

Full guidelines and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website:


The Aurealis Awards judges welcome electronic entries in all categories, including novels, short stories, novellas, illustrated work / graphic novels, collections, anthologies, children’s and young adult fiction. The Aurealis Awards management team recognises the financial burden of entering multiple works in multiple categories to some authors, editors and publishers at independent small presses. We accept epub and mobi files, although PDF may be provided if no other format is available (particularly for graphic works). Print may also be supplied.

Finalists of all award categories will be announced early in 2022 and winners announced at a ceremony to take place in the first half of the year. For more information on the awards or for the entry forms, visit the Aurealis Awards website at https://aurealisawards.org/.

For more information contact the judging coordinator Tehani Croft at aajudges@gmail.com.

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Announcing the 2021 Judging Panels

We are very pleased to welcome our 2021 Aurealis Awards judging panels. All our judges are volunteers and we are extremely grateful for their hard work and professionalism throughout the process. The Awards would not exist without them!

Judging Coordinator: Tehani Croft, assisted by Joanne Anderton

ANTHOLOGIES / COLLECTIONS PANEL (two separate categories judged by one panel)
Amy Laurens
Clare May
Jemimah Brewster
Penelope Cottier
Rowena Specht-Whyte (Convenor)

Elizabeth Luchjenbroers
Eugen Bacon (Convenor)
Kate Lomas Glendenning
Miffy Farquharson
T R Napper

Bronwyn Swasbrick
Cathie Tasker (Convenor)
Caylee Tierney
Deb Gates
Rachel Aitken

Cary Lenehan
Ella Kurz
Jan-Andrew Henderson (Convenor)
Karen Seeneevassen
Paula Duggan

David Brine
Lynda Young
Melody Beier (Convenor)
Ruth Lawlor
Shannon Kelly

HORROR NOVEL/NOVELLA PANEL (two separate categories judged by one panel)
Alannah Pearson
Allister Smith
Benjamin Corby
Emma Cutting
Mark Lingane (Convenor)

Blake Curran
Bryn Smith
Caitlin Chisholm (Convenor)
Leah Rose
Sharita Russell

Bryn Hepworth
Iurgi Urrutia (Convenor)
Jacqueline Wheadon
Jess Gately
Mia Macrossan

Anna Hepworth
Dianne De Bellis (Convenor)
Dorothy-Jane Daniels
Jesse Greyson
Patrick Keuning

David James
Emilie Morscheck
Louise Nice
Mark Phillips
Paula Boer (Convenor)

Christine Yunn-Yu Sun
Mark Fazackerley (Convenor)
Natalie Haigh
Rebecca Sutherland

YA NOVEL / SHORT STORY PANEL (two separate categories judged by one panel)
Amanda Diaz
Andrew Finegan (Convenor)
Emma Phillips
Linda Sengsourinho
Sarah Custance

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Sara Douglass Book Series Award is open to entries

The judging panel now welcomes entries for the 2021 Sara Douglass Book Series Award.

The 2021 Award covers all series ending between January 2018 and December 2020. Please see more information below and on the Sara page.


  • This year, the Sara covers series ending (in original publication) between January 2018 and December 2020. 
  • The current judging year is deliberately excluded. This permits an earlier submissions deadline to allow adequate time for the judges to consider all works entered.
  • Entries close September 30, 2021 (please note this is different to the rest of the Aurealis Awards).


  • For the purpose of the Sara Douglass Book Series Award, a “series” is defined as a continuing ongoing story told through two or more books, which must be considered as ending in one of the years covered by the judging period.
  • This award is to recognise that there are book series that are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts – that is, the judges are looking for a series that tells a story across the series, not one that just uses the same characters/setting across loosely connected books. It is anticipated that shortlisted works will be best enjoyed read in succession, with an arc that begins in the first book and is completed in the last.
  • The series may be in any speculative genre within the extended bounds of science fiction, fantasy or horror (that is, if a book would be considered on an individual basis for one of the novel, or possibly novella, categories in the Aurealis Awards, the series may be considered here).
  • The Sara Douglass Book Series Award does not replace or depose individual books being entered in the usual categories – it is a supplementary Award.
  • As is also the case with the rules for Illustrated Work/Graphic Novel and serialised novels, if a series is considered finished and entered at the conclusion of (for example) book three, but then is continued in future works, the future works *may* be entered as a series at a later point, but the first trilogy (for example), if previously entered in the Series award, may not be considered again. As an example – if the first three books of Sara Douglass’s Wayfarer Redemption series (Battleaxe / Enchanter / Starman) had been entered in the Sara Douglass Book Series Award in the year following the publication of the final book, the subsequent trilogy continuing the story (Sinner / Pilgrim / Crusader) could have been entered in a later year, but the first three could not be considered again as a series of six. However, if the first three books had never been considered for the Sara Douglass Book Series Award, all six could have been entered at the conclusion. Essentially, parts of an extended series may only be considered once for this Award (although as noted, individual books are still eligible for regular Aurealis Awards categories in their year of publication).
  • There is no entry fee for this special Award category, but all books must be supplied to the judging panel by the entrant (publisher or author).


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Aurealis Awards 2021 – Call for Judges

Please read the following information carefully before submitting your application as we cannot make exceptions to the requirements.

We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2021. Aurealis Awards. Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).

All judges must be willing and able to read digital entries in either mobi or epub format, which we accept in all categories. Graphic Novel entries may also be submitted in PDF. Print is still sometimes sent by entrants but we do not require it.

Panel sizes may vary among categories – and from year to year – depending on the perceived workload required and the availability of judges for a particular category. However, each panel will consist of at least three judges, one of which will be the panel convenor.

Being an Aurealis Awards judge involves reading entries for one panel (which may comprise more than one category). This may consist of several dozen novels and/or more than a hundred short stories / novellas in the process of evaluating the year’s entries. The reading load can become quite heavy at the end of the judging period although we endeavour to obtain works as soon as they are published. Judges may keep their reading copies of entries. Convenors of each panel are also required to participate in the judging of the Convenors’ Award for Excellence, which involves additional consumption of material.

Categories are: 

  • Science Fiction Novel
  • Science Fiction Short Story / Novella (two categories sometimes judged by one panel)
  • Fantasy Novel
  • Fantasy Short Story / Novella (two categories sometimes judged by one panel)
  • Horror Novel / Novella / Horror Short Story (three categories judged by one or two panel, depending on availability of judges)
  • Young Adult Novel / Young Adult Short Story (two categories sometimes judged by one panel)
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Collection / Anthology (two categories judged by one panel)
  • Illustrated Book / Graphic Novel

The Aurealis Awards accepts digital entries in all categories. Judges must be willing to accept and read entries in this format. Willingness and ability to read digitally is an essential aspect of the judging role.

It is vital that judges be able to work as part of a team and meet stringent deadlines. Most of the judges’ discussions are conducted via a private online forum or email.

Entries to the awards close in early December, with all work published between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 eligible for entry. Shortlists from each panel will be required by March 2022 (firm dates will be advised), and prospective judges should be aware that this may be an intensive process.

Dates for Judging (to be confirmed):

  • August 22 2021 – judging applications close
  • September 2021 – entries open
  • Mid December 2021 – entries close
  • December 31 2021 – final entries must be received by judges; Convenors’ Award for Excellence entries close
  • March 2022 – shortlists and finalists must be decided by panels
  • April 2022 – Convenors’ Award for Excellence decided by convenors.
  • 2022 – Awards ceremony (details to be advised)

All discussions are confidential between the judges in each panel and the judging coordinator and/or the Aurealis Awards management team, as required. The Aurealis Awards judging coordinator will have no input into these decisions except to mediate panel issues.

Judges from previous Aurealis Awards processes are welcome – indeed encouraged – to re-apply. But, in the interests of transparency and impartiality, no one may judge the same category for more than two consecutive years, and a break of two consecutive years is required before a judge can reapply to be a judge in that particular category again.

Please complete the form below by Sunday 22 August, 2021. 

The judging positions are open to Australian residents only.

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2020 Aurealis Awards Ceremony Recording

Thanks so much to the ConFound team who made this happen! If you missed the ceremony on Thursday, you can now view it in all its glory.

Huge appreciation to Freye Marske and Leife Shallcross for their wonderful hosting duties, to all of the people around the world who were online for the ceremony, filling the chat with love and joy, and as always, to our amazing judging teams, for their work each year in what is, I can assure you, a massive and often very challenging job! They are the lifeblood of the Aurealis Awards, and we are so grateful for their time and energy in this space.

My apologies that I was unable to upload the closed captions file from the ceremony with the video (for some reason, YouTube would not permit me to) – hopefully YouTube’s auto generated version works okay.

(Please note, this video is unedited, as aired!)

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